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Stephanie Blythe Hosts Opera News Awards in NYC Today, 4/29

Today, April 29, the seventh annual Opera News Awards will be presented at a gala celebration in the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza in New York City, paying tribute to five extraordinary artists who have made an invaluable contribution to the art form: sopranos Karita Mattila and Anja Silja, baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Peter Mattei, and director Peter Sellars. Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, who sings Fricka in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Wagner's Ring, will host the awards. Among the special guests for this year's festivities are conductor James Conlon (a 2005 Opera News Award-winner), who will present the award to Ms. Silja; legendary baritone (and 2008 Opera News Award-winner) Sherrill Milnes, who will present the award to Mr. Hvorostovsky; bass-baritone Eric Owens, another star of the Met's Ring, who will present to Mr. Sellars; Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, who will present to Ms. Mattila; and soprano Deborah Voigt, a 2007 Opera News Award-winner and the Met's current Brünnhilde, who will present the award to Mr. Mattei. The guest list will also include Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine of Sweden, who will attend to watch her countryman, Peter Mattei, be honored. Her Excellency, Ambassador Ritva Jolkkonen, Consul General of Finland in New York, will also be a guest at the festivities, honoring Ms. Mattila. 

Created in 2005, the Opera News Awards recognize five individuals each year for distinguished achievement in the field of opera. Proceeds from the gala-which will feature the presenters speaking about the awardees, as well as performance video clips-will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Always a night of extraordinary star-power and glamour, the Opera News Awards celebration will once again bring together New York's cultural and social luminaries. The corporate sponsor is BNY Mellon Wealth Management; the event has also received support from American Airlines and Trump International Hotel and Tower, New York. Tributes to the five awardees feature prominently in the just-published April 2012 issue of Opera News
 
F. Paul Driscoll, Editor-in-Chief of Opera News, comments: "We have been enormously pleased with the response that the opera community has had to the Opera News Awards. The gala gives the opportunity for opera fans and professionals alike to celebrate the art form they cherish, as well as to allow friends throughout the opera community to come together for an evening that is filled with inspiration, laughter and the recounting of many vivid memories. As in previous seasons, this year's honorees represent the very best that opera has to offer: they are all artists of prodigious skill, dedication and character, and we are proud to pay tribute to them."
 
The evening's host, Stephanie Blythe, is no stranger to Opera News. Receiving her own Opera News Award in 2008, Ms. Blythe spoke fondly in her acceptance speech about reading the magazine in her early days as a voice student at the Crane School of Music. Her first Opera News cover story was in June 2001. In 2003-04, Opera News produced a television special, "Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones," which was taped at Teatro Heckscher at El Museo del Barrio and broadcast on WNYE. The program is now in the Permanent Collection of the Paley Center for Media. 
 
Opera News has been published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild since 1936; it has the largest circulation of any classical music magazine in the United States. The monthly magazine is a winner of three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism. F. Paul Driscoll has been Editor in Chief of Opera News since 2003; Brian Kellow, whose recent book Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark made many "Best of 2011" lists, is the magazine's features editor and contributes a widely read monthly column, "On the Beat." 
 
Sunday, April 29, 2012, at 6pm
2011 OPERA NEWS AWARDS
Grand Ballroom, The Plaza New York City
 
Awards presented to sopranos Karita Mattila and Anja Silja, baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Peter Mattei, and director Peter SellarsTickets are available through the Metropolitan Opera Guild at (212) 769-7009 or online here.

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